Old-House Attic Master Suite

outdated attic transformed into a attic master bedroom suite - AtticmagAn artist-decorator turns an outdated top floor into a luxurious attic master bedroom suite flooded with natural light.

Heaven. I’m still pinching myself,” says Amy K., describing her spacious new master bedroom closet. That sentiment could extend to her new bedroom with an intimate sitting room tucked behind the fireplace, or to the elegant new white marble bath – all part of an 1100 square-foot-space attic master bedroom suite which she recently built in her 1889 St. Paul, Minnesota home.

Amy’s no novice when it comes to old-house redos. We showed her wonderful Heritage Range Kitchen with its show-stopping black Bertazzoni stove in June 2010 and photos of that kitchen have been pinned more than 1000 times! I’ve updating that post with two new images so I hope you won’t miss reading, or rereading, that on the link (just above).

artist-decorator Amy KBefore moving to Shanghai, China, Amy was a studio artist and had worked in a furniture store. While overseas, she was asked to help decorate a colleague’s apartment which proved to be a challenge in China. Today, she’s parlayed that into her own referral-only decorating business which she describes as “sort of renting a sister with a good eye to make your house gorgeous.” No better place to show those skills than her own home, right?

The decision to reclaim the attic came “against much well-meaning advice – ‘Oh? Too many stairs! You’ll hate it!’ ” she recalls. But “my husband and I had our clothing scattered throughout different rooms and closets, including commandeering our teens’ closets, which wasn’t working! Many boxes and Rubbermaid bins. Anyone in an old house knows the situation. Our “master bath” was as far as possible from the bedroom. It seemed like a half-mile in the middle of the night.” Working with the same architect and neighbor who helped redo the kitchen, the project took seven months to complete and required a dumpster and access stairway in the front yard.

outdated attic transformed into a master bedroom suite - AtticmagThe bedroom [top and above], includes a custom wooden bed made in Shanghai. “One man, all hand planed. No metal hardware, anywhere. It fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. We love it. It is up there permanently and will have to be sawed up or sold with the house someday,” Amy explains, since it was brought in through the large hole in the wall before the windows were installed. The bench on the end of the bed was “a good deal on One King’s Lane,” she says. The velvet draperies are double-wides from Pottery Barn over linen sheers from Crate & Barrel.

outdated attic transformed into a master bedroom suite - AtticmagThis same area had been a sitting area facing a fireplace. The triple window was gracefully reframed. The fireplace was enlarged and reworked with a partition replacing the hulking wood overmantel.

new fireplace in outdated attic transformed into a master bedroom suite - AtticmagThe Vanguard leather chair, pulled up by the new fireplace, moved upstairs from the family room where it had been fading in the sun. The soft leather compliments the mix of blue, teal, turquoise and navy against pale gray walls and white woodwork. An architectural bookcase was built into the wall to house books, and Amy’s collection of Chinese blue and white pottery. Art work is her own.

outdated attic transformed into a master bedroom suite - AtticmagTucked behind the fireplace, a back-of-the-bedroom nook is dominated by a massive wood beam. An intimate spot at night, it has a TV and is “perfect for watching Project Runway and Chopped,” Amy says. There is also abundant natural light from the trio of tall windows.

reading nook window and loft stairs in outdated attic transformed into a master bedroom suite - AtticmagPreviously, the same window seemed dwarfed by the beam and was rendered useless by stairs leading to an attic loft.

outdated attic transformed into a master bedroom suite - AtticmagIn the master bath, marble reigns. That’s Vermont Montclair Danby Striato which, surprisingly, “barely etches and can be scrubbed with Comet,” Amy says. “I don’t want to have to baby any surfaces.” There was enough space below the dormer window for a tub with a view of the sky.

former kitchen, now bathroom, in outdated attic transformed into a master bedroom suite - AtticmagThe bathroom replaced a kitchen. “We used the space as a big, ugly guest room – nobody but close family could stay up there.” The old master, downstairs, now has been repurposed as the guest room.

his-and-hers closet in outdated attic transformed into a master bedroom suite - AtticmagThe spacious his-and-hers closet was sketched out but modifications were made by the carpenter to accommodate some of the house systems. The closet replaced a bedroom. On Amy’s end there is ample hanging space, handbag storage and catch-all basket bins. A shared island has six drawers including one for socks. “We Minnesotans have VAST sock collections,” Madame notes, adding “I’m originally from the West Coast so all those socks still make me laugh.” Those of us who live in cold climates can also share the chuckle.

Note: There’s even more of this amazing attic makover on the slideshow (below) along with a full range of before and after photos. To view photos individually, click on “thumbnails.”

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bedroom with gray walls, white trim and custom bed in renovated attic master bedroom suite - Atticmag
old fireplace and loft stairway in attic prior to renovation - Atticmag
bedroom fireplace and TV nook in renovated attic master bedroom suite - Atticmag
Vermont marble master bath with tub, double vanities and dressing table in renovated attic master suite - Atticmag
dormer window in attic prior to renovation of space into master bath - Atticmag
bathtub in renovated attic suite master bath - Atticmag
old kitchen in attic space now occupied by renovated master bath - Atticmag
Vermont marble shower in attic master bath master suite - Atticmag
his-and-hers closet in outdated attic transformed into a master bedroom suite - Atticmag
attic bedroom prior to renovation into closet space in attic master suite - Atticmag
outdated attic bedroom transformed into closet in a master bedroom suite - Atticmag
shoe closet in renovated attic master suite - Atticmag

Another view of the bedroom. Chandelier and sconces are from Visual Comfort.

The old fireplace, encased in ugly oak, also was wrapped by a staircase leading to a loft.

Reducing the fireplace and chimney to a partition preserved the open plan of the bedroom and allowed light from the TV nook behind it to come through.

The new master bath translates the gray and white bedroom color scheme into tile and marble. Large-scale slate-look, 12 x 24 porcelain tile was a low-maintenance choice for the floor. Vanity fixtures are from Bellacor. Swing arm sconces above the vanity came from Restoration Hardware.

The dormer window above the bathtub previously was a window seat adjacent to the attic kitchen.

Angled shelves on each side of the window hold towels which can be accessed from the tub.

The master bath replaced this old kitchen.

“I learned from mistakes in another bath reno,” Amy says. After a “lot of research” she picked the Hansgrohe Axor Citterio shower system for the shower. “Plenty of hair-rinsing power!”

Amy’s side of the his-and-her closet.

Bedroom that's now become the closet. The triple window was replaced.

The spouses share the 6-drawer vanity. The large, wide drawers “are probably my favorite feature” of the closet Amy says.

Amy’s shoe closet. “Now we love our home again,” she says. “Ain’t remodeling great?”

(First and second photos: Christian Koch)

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5 Responses to Old-House Attic Master Suite

  1. cat_mom October 1, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    What a great Master Bedroom suite/hideaway! The closet, the bathroom, the fp, the space–wow, wow, wow!

  2. Allison October 1, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    So pretty, Amy! I know you’re enjoying all that space. Who makes the light fixtures over the closet island?

  3. Jane F October 1, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    So glad you like it catmom especially as its not super modern.

    I asked her, Allison. Ballard bargain.

  4. Shanghaimom October 2, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

    Thank you cat_mom and Allison! Kinda seems like you’re both GW “family”.

    Allison, those pendants were a SICK bargain. They’re long gone. )-:

    Best, ~Amy


  1. Attic Bedroom Accent Wall - August 18, 2014

    […] of the most dramatic transformations I’ve ever seen here was the Old-House Attic Master Suite our artist-decorator friend Amy built for herself and her husband. So I believe in attic bedrooms. […]

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